Sunday, March 30, 2008

PLA 2008 Conference Awards!

From John Wood's inspiring talk at the opening session, to the plethora of great product and swag in the Exhibits Hall, to the diverse programs for managers and frontline staff alike, it is now time for the PLA 2008 Conference Awards!

"We saved a tree today!" Award: This award goes to PLA for it's meaningful and forward-thinking decision to have a paperless conference. The environment smiled as a tree was spared and less waste was generated.

Best sightseeing spot in Minneapolis Award: Is it the famous outdoor sculpture of the Spoonbridge and Cherry (pictured below), or the nightclub where Prince filmed "Purple Rain?" While interesting, this award goes to, none other than, the statue of American TV icon Mary Richards a.k.a. Laura Petrie a.k.a. Mary Tyler Moore (pictured left), located outside of Macy's (originally Dayton's) at Nicollet Mall and 7th! The sitcom featured a host of wonderful characters such as Mary's best friend Rhoda, gruffy Mr. Grant, lovable newswriter Murray and anchor-with-a-huge-ego Ted Baxter. The statue honors the now infamous scene where Mary Richards tosses her hat in the air in the show's opening montage. We love Mary Richards, and if the Simpsons create a parody of you, then you have made it after all!

Most creative note-taking technique Award: This award clearly goes to this librarian who knitted throughout the entire program. As she explained, knitting helps her to focus her mind! For this, as well as a great picture taking moment, we give this crafty librarian the most creative note-taking method award! Mental note-taking, wow, how appropriate for a paperless conference, don't you think?

"Look, a free lunchbox to hold little swag" Award: One of the hottest giveaways was a Books on Tape lunchbox with an audiobook inside, given out daily to the first 100 adult librarians and 50 Children's librarians. Yes, anyone can use it for a lunchbox, but it also makes the perfect box to hold little swag, baby swag and especially magnetic swag! Thanks to Books on Tape for this multi-purpose and practical giveaway!

Best t-shirt Award: Speaking of giveaways, let's begin our swag awards! The most popular exhibit giveaways were the free t-shirts. So, here are your PLA Conference best t-shirt award winners:

1st Place: "Librarians Rock" by Plunkett Research (pictured left, in the middle). Yes, yes, this is a truism, but it's always good to see our rockness personified
2nd Place: Youniquely4u message t-shirts (pictured left, bottom). This exhibitor offered purple t-shirts with different, unique messages, such as "Of course, I know," "Ideas are contagious, catch one at your public library," plus many more. This is, perhaps, the most clever and astute brand promotion ever exhibited at conference. Youniquely4u would have received 1st place if they also offered a message t-shirt, oh, I don't know, maybe something like, "of course, Librarians Rock."
3rd Place: Gale's "I Have Issues" t-shirt (pictured left, top). Clearly, a much sought after t-shirt giveaway as witnessed by the mob of librarians who rushed to grab, push, trample (oh, sorry, I digress) for their free t-shirt.
This mob-like scene may be due to the fact that only 50 t-shirts were given out Friday morning, or that librarians love free stuff, or that librarians have issues, or all of the above!
Honorable mention goes to the Miami Ink-inspired "Books & Authors" t-shirt from Gale and the World Book sporty t-shirt! The most wonderful thing about all of these winners is that each exhibitor offered a truly great product to back a really great t-shirt! Congratulations to the t-shirt winners!

Best tote Award: Let's continue the swag awards by looking at the Conference's best totes. The totes play a very key role in librarian conferences. We, of course, want a strong, sturdy tote that will support and hold as much free stuff as possible--more stuff than we could ever possibly use, but can take back to our library and share with co-workers, right? At the same time, we want a tote that looks great, maybe one that is colorful and fun too! Or, a tote that we can use after conference in our daily life. So, with that said, here are your best tote award winners:

1st Place: Penguin's small tote bag is stylish, colorful and offers cover shots of great pieces of literature, which promotes the new line of inexpensive classics. The tote was extremely limited and only a very few attendees actually received one. Fortunately, one of the ladies at the exhibit booth had one for picture-taking purposes!

2nd Place: HarperCollins
offered one of the most popular totes of the conference. It is bright, colorful, fun and holds many things!
3rd Place: The Ingram Library Services purse tote is small but ladies can most definitely use it after conference.
4th Place: Merriam-Webster has offered this canvas tote at previous conferences, but just like it's product, it is durable, solid and reliable (to hold lots of freebies)! Again, congrautlations winners!

[Pictured top row: 3M, Diamond Book Publishers, Redbox Workshop]
[Pictured bottom row: Redbox Workshop, Gaylord/Gale in the Exhibits Hall]

Wow, what a special book Award: Upon visiting the U.S. Census Bureau's exhibit booth and seeing the brand new release Census Atlas of the United States, this librarian was overcome by excitement! Thrilled by her excitement, the two gentleman in the booth, one who spearheaded the project, asked, "Do you want the book?" Thinking, yeah, right, I said, "of course." And, low and behold, they gave me the book! A comprehensive, historical collection of maps and statistics, this is truly a substantial reference work and a very special book! And you know what? The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) also thought it was a very special book, so much so, that they inspected it in the checked luggage. Mmm, let's see, a government agency, whose role is national security at the nation's airports, checking bagged luggage to inspect a government document. I feel safe, in saying that, government documents librarians will sleep a little better tonight! And thanks to the two gentlemen in the Bureau's exhibit booth for your kindness and generosity!

Best presentor Award: While there were a number of great presentors, from John Wood, to Technozoo's Leonard Souza to Gamer consultant Beth Gallaway, this award goes to two ladies who gave encore performances and provided us with laughter, insight and heartfelt moments. First, Karen Hyman's 12-step program to reinventing your library was entertaining, engaging and filled with her sharp wit and observations. At the close of her presentation, she paid loving tribute to both of her daughters as she explained how one of them recently passed away. The library community extends our deepest sympathy.

And second, Sandra Nelson shared her keen insight and laughter into our busy lives and bouts of crabbiness as well as her joy of becoming a great grandmother during the PLA conference! We congratulate her on the new addition to her family! Through their presentations, they remind us that while work is important, challenging and meaningful, the cherished time with our loved ones, family and friends, is what truly matters most, as reflected by their own life-changing events! Thank you ladies, for making us laugh, cry, and laugh again!

Best character promotion Award! This award goes to Scaredy Squirrel at the Kids Can Press exhibit booth! Interesting choice, huh? Homeowners everywhere are shouting, "What the? How can you make a squirrel, that pesty little creature that chews on wires and causes havoc for us homeowners, a best character?" Oh yes, that pesty little creature attempts to redeem itself as a cute, little Children's book character that goes outside of his comfort zone, meets new and different creatures, faces life-changing adventures and expands his horizon. This award also pays special tribute to all the Children's book publishers that continue to create fresh, new characters to help open and expand the minds and imagination of children everywhere.

Most joyful moments Award: Some people call this networking, but it really is so much more. These are the special moments when you meet some really cool, interesting librarians, from all parts of the country, and hear about what they do and the things their libraries offer. It is also a time that we may run into co-workers from our own library (such as my colleague Logan Ragsdale, pictured right) to hear about their experiences and learn about the programs they attended. And, it can also be a time when you reunite with colleagues from the past to catch up on what's been happening. There is a sense of joy and comfort in knowing that there are others with whom you share a commonality and passion.

Best mini swag Award: We continue the swag awards with the best mini swag award. The rigid, grueling criteria for this award is that the swag must be small, exceptionally "cute" and makes you smile when you see it! Here they are:
1st Place: Equinox Software's Evergreen Smiley Guy pen who gives two thumbs up even with a bad hair day!
2nd place: Kids Can Press Scaredy Squirrel layard filled with images of all the cute characters from the book..
3rd place: The fun mousepad by Scholastic, highlighting real life pictures of animals and their animated counterpart!

Most practical, "I will totally use this stuff" swag Award: There were many great candidates for this award, and here are your winners:
1st place: Brodart's Post-it dispenser! Who knew that they had a dispenser for post-its?
2nd place: Gaylord's orange globe paper clip holder that defies gravity
3rd place: ProQuest's Smiley Dude pen can be used at your reference desk to draw customers to you

Best in Show Swag Award: And now, for our Best in Show winners:
1st Place: Plunkett's "Librarians Rock" t-shirt
2nd Place: Equinox Software's Evergreen Smiley Guy pen
3rd Place: Book on Tape's multi-purpose lunch/swagbox

Congratulations to all of the exhibitors, presentators and PLA members who worked so hard to make this a great conference for the librarians! The PLA conference is now over and we have all returned to our daily routines. Hopefully, we took with us some great experiences; new ideas to help reshape our libraries and share with colleagues; and perhaps make our communities, both physical and virtual, a better place for all of us!

[Pictured left: Basilica of Saint Mary]
[Pictured above: Artwork at the Emerson Elementary School]
[Pictured bottom row: Octopus and Hare on Bell on Portland Stone outdoor sculptures at the Walker Art Center and Baker & Taylor cats at exhibits]